Tool thief caught after being tracked down online

A thief was tracked down online after stealing tools from the back of a van while its owner’s back was turned.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 11:33 am

Dylan Newall, 26, and a pal swiped £840 of items after spotting the vehicle’s rear door open in Houghton.

Newall, of Sunderland Street, Houghton, helped unload a £300 drill and impact driver, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

And a £150 grinder and a £400 breaker were also taken while the van man popped back into a house on Sunday, February 14.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

But neighbouring security camera footage was located and uploaded onto social media channels, leading to Newall and his partner in crime being identified.

He has now been ordered to pay his victim his half share of his illegal spoils by a judge who branded his actions “unpleasant and mean”.

Prosecutor Niamh Reading said: “The victim was carrying out some work and his van was in the street.

“At about 1.30pm the victim left a property and saw two males walking past, acting suspiciously.

“He later began loading his tools into the van and noticed that the door was slightly open. Items were missing.

“There was CCTV of the incident and it was circulated on social media. The defendant was identified.”

The court heard Newall has 20 previous convictions.

Paul McAlindon, defending, described Newall’s offence as a “very straightforward case”.

He added: “He and the other gentleman saw the van with its door ajar. It was opportunistic.

“To his credit, he is now working and has been for some time.”

District Judge Paul Currer slammed Newall for an “unpleasant and mean” opportunistic theft.

Judge Currer added: “The reason for your offence was sheer stupidity and greed.”

He sentenced the groundworker, who pleaded guilty to theft from a motor vehicle, to an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 200 hours of unpaid work.

Newall must also pay £420 compensation to his victim, the same as his co-accused, who was sentenced at a separate hearing, and £300 court costs.